Happy 4th of July

It’s hardly surprising that we Irish have always felt a close connection to the United States.

During the Great Famine (1845-49) almost a quarter of Ireland’s population was forced to emigrate, with many of them – individuals and families – taking their chances on the infamous ‘coffin ships’ that chugged across the Atlantic to the USA.

Today, it’s estimated that more than 34 million Americans list their heritage as either primarily or partially Irish. We love that.

A desire to retrace Irish roots is one of the main reasons so many Americans visit Ireland today – last year alone, a staggering 1.6 million people from North America came to Ireland on holidays.

Close business ties

There are strong business ties too, with many US firms choosing Ireland as the location for their European headquarters – not just tech firms like Google, Facebook, Twitter et al, but pharmaceutical companies, finance companies and lots of others.

So, this 4th of July, we celebrate those ties and we wish our friends in the USA a happy holiday. And, as we currently have an American of our very own in Cullen Communications, we thought we’d ask her for her impressions of her new (temporary) home.

Meet Lauren Rotundo (pictured with agency boss Owen Cullen), from the port city of Marquette in Michigan. Lauren (19) is doing a summer PR internship here at Cullen Communications before heading back to start her sophomore year at Northern Michigan University, where she’s majoring in Public Relations.

Hi Lauren! Why did you choose Ireland for your internship?

Ireland is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s wonderful being able to see the country and live in such a beautiful place for two months. The intern program also really fit the description of what I was looking for and it found me a great placement to learn more about public relations!

What sort of things are you doing in your position and what have you learned in the job so far?

With my position I pretty much help whoever needs help. I’m really happy with this because it allows me to see all the different projects that are going on and helps me to find what I like and in turn should focus on more when I go back to my classes. I have done things such as finding venues for a product launch to writing a draft for a press release. I would say that I have learned a lot about what a “real world” PR work environment looks and feels like, and after having been immersed in it for a month and a half, I am certain I chose the right major.

How does your Irish experience fit with your overall career goals and aspirations?

I think it’s unique to work in a different country at my age, so that alone is really valuable. It gives me a little insight into how PR works in Ireland and Europe in general, and I hope to take away ideas from that and bring them back to America and to future jobs. Through being at Cullen Communications, I’ve also learned a lot about the type of work environment that I want to be a part of. Having an intimate group of people makes it so much easier for everyone to communicate and bounce ideas off one other, I think it seems like the ideal work environment which is a very important discovery for me.

What is your impression of Ireland and its people?

I absolutely love Ireland and without a doubt will be coming back. Everyone that I’ve met has been so friendly and welcoming which makes being away from home a lot easier. All the different views that I’ve seen within one island have amazed me; from mountains, to farmland, to the seaside, it’s all so much more than I was expecting coming into this trip. I will be leaving with such great experiences, both with work and travelling, and for that I will be forever grateful to Ireland.

Finally, how will you be celebrating the 4th of July?!

Ireland is enjoying its warmest, sunniest summer for years so my friends and I are going for a post-work swim at the famous ’40-foot’ harbour in Sandycove, a little fishing village in south Dublin. Then we are going to the Square Ball pub in the city centre for their annual 4th of July celebrations with American food, beer and music – can’t wait!